Over the last decade, Operation Pretty Things has been touching lives with simple tangible extensions of love. One of those recipients is Natalie...
"I’ll never forget the day I received a gift bag from Operation Pretty Things during an empowerment meeting. Inside were beauty items I couldn’t have afforded—luxuries to me. Then I read the notecard. In that moment, I realized how much caring and thought had gone into the gift because a stranger thought I was worth effort. My abuser withheld attention, affection, and access to money. I can’t tell you how much love the OPT gift conveyed. It showed me that I am worth someone’s time and effort."
"I was subjected to emotional abuse my entire life, but it wasn’t until my ex-husband left me stranded with almost nothing in a strange new town that I even recognized it. I had married and moved with my ex-husband to a foreign country where, in isolaon, he slowly turned from Prince Charming into a cold, miserly man.
I suffered the loss of my self-worth, was kept in the dark about our finances, and was treated like I was nothing more than a piece of furniture for him to use and forget about. Our household was so fraught with tension because disagreements were outlawed by my ex and he used stonewalling as a means of avoiding conflict. My child developed OCD behaviors as a way of coping with the strain---I turned to bulimia. Shortly after my ex-husband deserted me, I stumbled upon descriptions of covert abuse. I began attending an empowerment group where I learned how abusers wield power to control their victims.
My healing journey had begun.
Today, I am employed full-time and a proud first-time home owner. My artistic abilies had been hindered by PTSD and the stress of a contenous divorce, but they are coming back now. Art is so therapeutic. I also make a specific effort to take care of myself like I never have before. I am slowly blossoming into the woman I am meant to be—not oppressed by abuse.
One of my goals is to bring attention to the covert side of domesc violence because it is not well understood among the general population. I hope to write a book about my experience and to again enjoy traveling around the world. Someday, I hope to find a non-abusive man to share my life with, but if that day never comes, I will be so thankful to continue living a life free from abuse."